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Mavenir Joins Virtual SBC Party

Fresh off its IPO, Mavenir has launched itself into the already highly competitive virtualized session border controller (SBC) sector as it adds to its arsenal of capabilities for 4G LTE mobile operators. (See: IPO Action: Mavenir, Numericable.)

The company, best known for its application servers for multimedia messaging and other IMS (IP multimedia subsystem) elements, is hoping to pick up a lot of business from existing and new mobile operator customers as service providers introduce voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and rich communication services (RCS). (See: Mavenir Offers Virtual Mobile Core and Mavenir Tackles VoLTE.)

To enhance its chances, the Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) specialist has developed a virtual SBC, which, it says, is "specifically designed for wireless applications," with the company citing the scalability and quality of service demands of a service such as VoLTE. "Our next generation SBC is built for wireless services and mobility, and is basically redefining Border Control," noted Mavenir's President and CEO Pardeep Kohli in the company's product announcement, though we're pretty sure he wasn't talking about this border control. (See: Mavenir Unveils NFV Session Border Controller.)

Mavenir Systems Inc. stresses that its SBC, which is commercially available and designed for deployment in either core network interconnect or access network points, is a software product that fits in with any network functions virtualization (NFV) strategies that its customers may have, as it can be hosted on standard IT servers housed in datacenters.

The product has already been in trials with operators in Europe and North America.

Mavenir is set to announce its third-quarter financials on December 4.

Why this matters
The mobile SPIT community is gearing up for a swathe of VoLTE and RCS launches by 4G service providers in 2014, and the vendors are all hoping to benefit from a surge in user uptake.

But there are doubts in the industry that user acceptance of VoLTE will take off next year, while there is increasing unease about the worthiness of RCS in a world already dominated by popular over-the-top (OTT) services from the Web services giants.

As a result, it's important for a companies such as Mavenir, which will be very reliant on the success of VoLTE and RCS for revenue growth in 2014 and beyond, to have as many relevant capabilities in their product arsenals as possible, and a virtualized SBC is one of them.

But while Mavenir claims it is redefining the SBC space, its announcement trails those from some of its major rivals, most particularly Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS), Metaswitch Networks , and Acme Packet, which is now part of Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL). Competition is going to be intense in the market for VoLTE-supporting systems in 2014, and Mavenir may need to grab a larger share of the market than the other specialists if its new investors are to be kept happy.

For more on VoLTE, RCS, and SBCs:

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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